Farewell Sister Brisco

23 years, that’s how long Sister Brisco has been a part of my life. She’s known me since diapers. Literally. And I can honestly say, she’s had a HUGE part in molding me into the person I am today.

Saundra Brisco (Sis. B) has been in children’s ministry for 50 years. She stared in ministry when she was just 16 years old. This past Sunday, we celebrated her 23 years of ministry at my home church, Montgomery First. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, I didn’t think this day would ever come— Sis. Brisco is retiring. Of course, you can’t leave us until we throw you one over the top Farewell reception complete with over a thousand balloons, bagel bites and a slit walking clown.

As a child I remember Saturday morning Easter egg hunts, parents night out, spring break trips to Butts Mills Farm and even Kids Camp. I remember the first solo she gave me in a baseball themed program. I thought I was hot stuff in my white and red baseball tee. I even remember the time she had me dress up like a toy soldier and glued fake side burns on my cheeks for Christmas. Ouch! We’ve made lots of memories through out the years, Too many to count. But through those memories have come a lot of teachable moments.

If there is one thing that I would have to classify as ‘The Biggest Thing Sister Brisco Has Taught Me” it would be: How to Love People. I’ve had the privilege of serving under her ministry, working side by side with her week after week. We’ve even traveled the world together and I can honestly say she’s the same person in Montgomery, Alabama as she was in South Africa, Ecuador and Guatemala. Her heart for kids is something special. I can vividly remember standing outside a elementary school in South Africa in 2009, dusty dirt roads, kids running around who haven’t eaten in days, showered in probably weeks, but it didn’t matter. She saw someone who needed love, and that’s what she gave them. Wether it was a hug, prayer or even a smile– She could’ve cared less about what their background was, the color of their skin or how well dressed they where or what they smelled like. She once  said to me “Evan, Happiness comes when we learn to love others.” Talk about ah-ha moment, in the middle of Africa at that. I’ll never forget it. Today I find myself loving on those who are in need, who may be different from others and it’s credited to her and the values she spoke into me at an early age.

Speaking of traveling together, boy have we done our fair share together. From Kids Crusades, field trips and overseas adventure we’ve been side by side. I LOVE telling people about the time Sis. B decided to wear white pants on our 16 hour flight back to the states from South Africa and spilled diet coke on them 45 minutes in our flight—she had a bing brown stain for hours. Or the time we were in the Canary Islands and she didn’t like the tuna casserole the sweet church ladies offered her, so she pretended to eat it and threw it in the bushes. They saw her plate was empty so, they brought her more. You know what she did next, she threw it in the bushes again, and they brought her, yet another round. We laughed for hours. I could go on and on with stories, life lessons and memories we’ve shared but I’ll save those for my trip to visit you at the beach.

Sunday night I overhead people saying “It’s bitter sweet. We hate to see her go.”, but I say it’s all sweet and no bitter. We’ve laughed together, cried together even hooted and hollered. We’ve done life together but For now, I suppose two inadequate words will have to do: Thank you. Thank you for accepting me, loving me, teaching me, laughing with me, and most importantly praying for me. Thank You for being an inspiration not only to me, but those in our church, our city, our state and even the world. I won’t say “Goodbye”, I’ll just say “Until we meet again.”. I Love You Sister Brisco.

Sweet Home Montgomery

My sweet, sweet assistant Laura Jean and her Husband, Cody are traveling away from Sweet Home Montgomery in just a few short weeks. They’re traveling thousands of miles to a city that needs love just like the one we call home. colorboxphoto_30 LJ has been talking about her trip to Moldova with Stellas Voice for weeks. They couldn’t be happier to have the opportunity to share Christ’s Love with a city of broken and hurting souls.  colorboxphoto_2 The Bell’s have a bit of fundraising left to do and have created some super comfy t-shirts to help in their efforts in rounding out their goal. Laura, Cody and their extremely talented graphic design friend Nalin have created some of the trendiest tee’s that reflect our city.  colorboxphoto_39 The shirts were printed locally through a non-profit, Urban Seed XChange, a mission to enrich the lives of urban youth through entrepreneurship. colorboxphoto_55 It’s simple. Purchase on these shirts and the proceeds will go to support Laura and Cody’s mission trip to Moldova. To order, click HERE

I think I need this one: colorboxphoto_37 I can’t wait to see how these tees help change the world. Go Buy on NOW!!

…and tell em’ Laura sent ya!

Photos By: Brooke Glassford/ ColorBox Photographers 

Vendor Spotlight: Nick Drollette Photography

I’m almost positive that you guys are well aware that everyone is a photographer these days. Ok! Not everyone, but it seems like it, right? Let me introduce you to the real deal, Nick Drollette. He’s a photographer from Montgomery Alabama that is taking the wedding industry by storm.

I met Mr. Drollette about 4 years via Facebook. I know, it’s kind of creepy, but it was all him, I PROMISE! Nick thought I was an old bearded photographer who could help him further his career. Long story short, through that silly Facebook friend request We’ve become the best of  friends (He even asked me to be a groomsmen in his wedding). Nick is honestly one of the most talented guys I know. When he puts his mind to something, he does it and KILLS IT. He’s passionate about what he does and it comes across in every photo. I’m beyond honored to get to work with NDP on a regular basis with Weddings, Events and editorials but even more import I am honored to call him and his wife friends.

With that being said, I bring you another installment of  (insert drum roll sound effect) evangcooper.com’s  Vendor Spotlight. Below I had Nick send over some of his favorite images and answer a few questions to give the blogging world a chance to get to know him a little better..

EGC: What Inspires you as a photographer?

Everything. I’m inspired by what is around me. I think there is so much that we take for granted everyday. When you shoot it is about capturing that one moment in time because it will never be the same. Seeing so many photographers out there challenge me to get better. If I am not looking at other peoples work or looking for things to learn  or ways to better my skill I end up sitting in a slump. Photographers have to be inspired and learn from each other to become better. It’s  a never ending process.  There’s always something to learn, it’s impossible to know it all. I think that’s what I like the most.

 

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EGC: How does someone become a Photographer?

Hmm…Take photos of EVERYTHING! It doesn’t matter what camera you use just take pictures. You will grow if you start to dig deeper into learning the technical side of photography. Anyone can teach the technical side. It’s learning the creative side that is the hardest.

EGC: One of today’s main discussion points amongst photographers is the use of digital vs film photography; what do you prefer? 

I love the convenience of digital, You can instantly see what you have taken. I think learning on digital was a wiser choice than  film.  Shooting film makes you slow down and makes you a better photographer. It makes you think about every shot. Most of my favorite pictures I come across on the web are film. Why would I work so hard to edit a digital photo and try to make it look like film when I can just shoot film. To me film has a romantic look . Now there are some downsides to film. Obviously you can’t see it right away and most importantly you have to be willing to trust your lab and leave it in their hands. For me, I shoot anything I can. If you like to shoot disposable cameras. Then shoot disposable cameras. It’s not the gear that makes you a great photographer it is the technique and eye.  2013-11-09_0004 2013-11-09_0001

 

EGC: Where would you see yourself with your company in 5 years? 

I’m honestly not sure. I enjoy going with the flow. Like every other entrepreneur I want my business to grow. I want to be able to travel and see many different things.

EGC: What are your favorite type of projects to work on? 

I really enjoy documentary and travel photography. I have been on several trips with my church and would love to be able to travel and shoot around the world full time

EGC: Is there any special techniques or gear that you like using?

I enjoy working on my Mac. They’re a musty have for photographers 🙂 For Digital I shoot with a 5D MK II and a Hasselblad H1 for my film work. I only shoot Kodak film.

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Hopefully you know a little more about Nick Drollette and his company, Nick Drollette Photography. Hey! And how you have someone for all your photo needs.Remember, NDP doesn’t shoot just weddings– His lifestyle and commercial photography is pretty incredible. Thanks for reading! Until next time…

 

#Vienna13

I have sat down to finish writing this post 100 times but keep getting pulled away from my computer. So glad I was about to finally finish it. Enjoy Vienna through our eyes. and iPhones. 😉

I was beyond thrilled when I heard the #allchurchmissions trip was to Vienna Austria this summer. We’ve been all around the world, South Africa, Germany, Panama, Guatemala and even the Canary Islands. Each trip is special in its own way and Vienna was no different. It is certainly the most beautiful country I have ever been to. Full of culture and history.

Our journey began Sunday afternoon after our morning service. We loaded the buses and headed to the airport. Do you know how long it takes to get 30 people through ticketing and security? We arrived at the airport 4 hours before our flight. We flew out of Atlanta on KLM airlines. So thankful we had our own TV’s and USB ports at our seats. We’ve certainly been on flights without them! We traveled all night—a 9 hour flight to Amsterdam to be exact. EXHAUSTING! Then a 3 hour lay over in Amsterdam and FINALLY our last leg. The Final Flight— 2 ½ hours to go before arriving in Vienna.

I have to admit I got a lot of flack when I told everyone we were taking a missions trip to Vienna. Did you know it is one of the TOP 10 cities to live in the world?! But it’s also a city where less than 1% know Christ. We were so blessed to work with Phenomenal missionaries Larry and Melinda Henderson.  They had a packed schedule for us. Between street Ministry, Surveys, pray walks, to a work day at the asylum home. There was no rest for the weary. Oh and I forget to mention the 5 church services we were apart of on Sunday Morning—African, Ethiopian, Chinese, Iranian, National service and that’s only half of them.

I don’t have time to write about everything that happened on our trip. Like divine appointments our Pastor had while sitting on a park bench or Stories of the families we worked with in the asylum home,  nor do I think you would want to sit and read paragraphs upon paragraphs about our trip. But trust me when I say God had his hand on our trip and moved not only in the city of Vienna and allowed us to plant many seeds, but also in our team. “We need missions more than missions needs us”. So below are several iPhone photos from our trip. I only took my film camera with me this year and I am waiting to get those back from the Lab. I’ll be posting the “real” pictures as soon as they are ready! Enjoy! Oh and be sure to check out the official #vienna13 hashtag on instagram for many many more photos.

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I couldn’t pass up a photo op in the Amsterdam airport. This wall was just screaming for a photo shoot after our 9 hour flight. Fedora and all. (By the way all my friends hate my hat.) 2013-07-26_0002

Our home for 10 days!  The Ibis Hotel– We arrived to a gift bag full of goodies, free wifi, a see through shower and tiny beds. 2013-07-26_0003

As soon as we dropped our stuff off at the hotel, they whisked us away to dinner. Our 1st dinner in Vienna was YUMMY! I can still taste it! I could go for some of that chicken right now. 2013-07-26_0004

The buildings in Vienna were some of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen. Such history and character. Kodak moments everywhere! 2013-07-26_0009 2013-07-28_0008

Our first day of Ministry was in Stephansplatz– the home of the beautiful St. Stephens Cathedral. The ground breaking took place in 1137. It took over 20 years to build. It was completed in 1160. 2013-07-28_0001 2013-07-28_0002

While in Vienna we were well fed.We ate dinner here twice. It was SO YUMMY! The food portions were HUGE. I don’t know if anyone even ate everything on their plate. 2013-07-26_0005

The dish below is cordon bleu. It was good but I think I preferred the Wienerschnitzel. They best was to describe it– country friend steak, minus the gravy. It was delicious. 2013-07-28_0025

One evening after dinner we took a field trip to the worlds oldest ferris wheel– This Vienna landmark has operated in the Wiener Volksprater for over 100 years. Incredible view over the city. 2013-07-26_0006 2013-07-28_0024

There is also a small little amusement park attached– we got to spend a little time there and decided to ride “Ecstasy”. BIG MISTAKE. I have never wanted to vomit so bad in all my life. The ride lasted like 8 minutes, honestly. The ride slowed down and we all breathed a sigh of relief and before we could catch our breath it started back up again. Below is a before and after picture from our ride. 2013-07-28_0026

A couple of days into our trip We participated in a 2 1/2 prayer walk around the city. We circled many needs, not only  for the church but the people of this country. Less than 1% of Vienna are born again believers. The beautiful street you see below at first glance looks like an ordinary street, but 100’s of girls are sold into prostitution each night. Girls stand under the trees of that street waiting to be picked up. Europe is proposing that the largest brothel be built right here in Vienna. Sex trafficking at an all time high. This country needs Jesus. It was so special to lay hands on a church that has planted on that street and walk up and down the sidewalks circling the area in prayer. 2013-07-26_0007

Off to dinner again. It seems like all me did was eat, eat and eat. Possibly the best Calzone I’ve put in my mouth. AND, Vapiano wins major points for interior design. 2013-07-26_0008

again, so many beautiful buildings– everywhere you turned. 2013-07-28_0010 2013-07-28_0015 2013-07-28_0027

Not even gonna lie, Y’all– Europe was a little smelly! 2013-07-28_0012

Let me introduce you guy to Almdudler. It’s like ginger ale, but quit possibly better. It’s all I drank. I even looked in to have a case shipped to the states. 2013-07-28_0011

It’s so fun to spend everyday with your friends for 11 days! Oh and that photo on the left– hahahah! The little girl was from the local church we worked with, she told me I needed a head message. Certainly not like any head message I’ve ever gotten.

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Trips on the u bahn are always fun! 2013-07-28_0019

I thought it would be fun to join the construction team for the day– It didn’t last long. 2013-07-28_0023

The official #Vienna13 Puppet team. If you guys follow me on Instagram you’ve already met my friend #steviethepuppet! I think everyone was tried of him buy the time we arrived back in the states. He even traveled back in my carry on! He might of made some appearances in a couple of airports and on the plane. 2013-07-28_0016

Meet my roomie, Jimmy. This was the the case every morning. The photo below was taken at 9:22am. We were suppose to load the bus at 9:30am. Can you say, LAST MINUTE?!?! Typical Jimmy. 2013-07-28_0022

So grateful to visit such a beautiful country with my Mom! We certainly missed having Morgan and Dad with us this go round!  2013-07-28_0018

AND It was pleasure to work with some of the worlds GREATEST Missionaries. Meet the Henderson’s. Such a passionate family for missions and reaching the lost. 2013-07-28_0009

 

Our 2013 Vienna Austria All Church Missions Trip Team

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We had a blast, but were more than ready to head to the airport. We were smiles to begin with, then the jet lag begin to set in. 2013-07-28_0028

Finally no trip back to the States in complete with out a trip to Chick-Fil-A. It’s a MUST!!

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